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I keep an ongoing list of fun summer activities for the kids to do and add to it each year. I’ve run out of new ideas and would like to expand our opportunities.
Besides the usual summer activity of going to the pool or movies, what other fun escapades do you recommend for school-age children?
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It's so nice when it's finally warm enough to enjoy summer activities again!
One of the most fun things we do during the summer is go to neighborhood yard sales! The kids get a set amount of money they can spend, usually between $10-15. They have to buy one practical item, like an item they'll use for the next school year. They have to buy one absolutely ridiculous item, something completely impractical, like a pair of yellow wellies. We found these once, and they ended up becoming the cutest pair of vases for summer flowers!
Another fun thing is to let one of the kids plan a progressive dinner, choosing only places to eat where all items are less than $10. Usually a 3-course meal is sufficient, so a burger at one place, fries at another, and an ice cream at another. This is also fun to do at a Whole Foods, where they have a pizza bar, salad bar, and such.
You can also try a bird identification project. Go to different parks in the area, different times of the day, and see how many different birds you can find, take pictures, and create a book of them.
We also love the outdoor naturescape activities and scavenger hunts.
We have also used geo-caching on the app to scavenger hunt items hidden out in the bush and/or city.
Sometimes it’s also fun to add in new inflatable water toys like clear-bottom rafts and blow up ponies to add novelty to beach visits.
We also look for cafes with large playgrounds that have water spray and sometimes water play so that the adults can relax too.
I think having a list of fun activities on hand is a great idea. It can be difficult to find activities that everyone wants to participate in, especially as children get older, but I have found a few activities to be great for kids of all ages.
1. A scavenger hunt or nature ramble can be great fun. For a scavenger hunt, your list of items to find or identify can be adjusted according to the age of the child, and you can even include a few riddles to keep the older kids guessing. If you live near a wilderness area or if you have plenty of birds visiting your garden, you can make up a good list of common and are feathered visitors to your area. Make sure that you have a few pairs of binoculars handy and either a copy of a bird field guide, or easy access to one of the many birding apps available online.
2. If you have a dress-up box, or if you store your old halloween costumes, it can be great fun for kids to put together their own talent show or concert. This can be a great activity if there are a lot of kids in the neighborhood as it can culminate in a street picnic with the kids providing the entertainment.
3. Arts and crafts are good ideas for days that are very hot and you need to stay indoors. You can let your kids create their own artwork, or you can work together on a project. Along with painting or drawing, you can try things like mosaic or making jewellery from clay beads or polymer clay which you can bake in the oven.
4. Don't forget that your local library may offer a variety of holiday activities to keep kids of all ages entertained.
We love to go camping. We have had a lot of fun finding different sites on Hipcamp (which is like the Airbnb of campsites).
One thing that we are adding to our list this year is checking out different quarries. I'm not sure if you have any in your area, but they have come up on a few lists of things to do and we can't wait to check it out. More broadly, you can look for other fun things in nature to go seek out and find in your area that are different than a standard hike or walk.
My kids also love getting out to a pump park or skate park. It's a great way to take their bike and scooter riding to the next level.